Famo.us, AngularJS pairing brings out the best of JavaScript

Thomas Street's union of the JavaScript technologies offers high-performance rendering, code structure, and flexibility

JavaScript developers soon will have a way to blend the organizational tools of AngularJS and the cross-platform, animation-rich rendering capabilities of Famo.us.

This integration will be accomplished via the open source Famo.us-Angular library, planned for a May 19 release by Web and mobile design group Thomas Street. Developers will be able to use Famo.us in AngularJS and vice versa. Thomas Street developer Zack Brown emphasized what the combination brings to the table. "The reason I'm excited, most simply, is because of how well the two underlying libraries complement each other," Brown said.

Famo.us, now in a public beta period, enables development of JavaScript applications for the iOS and Android mobile platforms and standards-compliant browsers, while AngularJS provides a client-side MVC framework, Brown explained in his blog post on Famo.us-Angular. Although Famo.us provides the "view" capability of MVC, it lacks models, controllers, and a declarative process for building UIs. Tracking down the hierarchy of views in Famo.us requires digging through several files and has implications for maintainability, accessibility, and refactoring, Brown explained. "This is not a fundamental problem with Famo.us, though -- it's simply a symptom of not yet having the support of a fully featured MVC (etc.) framework to lean on for structure."

For AngularJS, the integration bolsters the framework with "first-class" mobile support and animation, said Brown, who noted that AngularJS has been geared to Web development, where mobile traditionally has been a second-class experience. "The best thing about the union of Famo.us and Angular is that they amplify each other: The whole is greater than the sum of the parts."

Attempts to integrate Famo.us and AngularJS have been made before without success, Brown said. Both technologies wanted control of the DOM, which proved to be a major sticking point.

The union of AngularJS and Famo.us is interesting and worth watching, said analyst Jeffrey Hammond, of Forrester. "We'll see what shakes out over the next few years, but a Famo.us-Angular tie-up can only help Famo.us given the current popularity of Angular." Hammond said developers he has spoken with see Famo.us as "still pretty raw." Even though Brown was critical of AngularJS mobile backing, the technology nonetheless is widely deployed in mobile development, Hammond said.

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